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As most of you know, I was engaged last year. The guy left town after we had slogged through all the mandated marriage prep in the Church and just before the wedding itself. We took the ridiculous FOCUS test, filling in all the little bubbles (we scored very high on it even though we were in reality a terrible match). We did the whole weekend Pre-Cana retreat and listened while chubby baby boomers regaled us bored young folk with cheesy anecdotes about marriage ("It's like a ship sailing through a storm, you both have to hold on to the sails! It's like she's the bread and he's the butter, you compliment and complete each other!") No red flags were raised during that fiasco either. We completed all the expensive and time-consuming prep and he still literally left me at the altar.  :sobstory:

Don't get me wrong--I know the Church is trying to get kids to take marriage seriously, but it's going about it the wrong way, and it's a huge turn-off. It's so complicated to get married in the Church these days that it's no wonder so many people just elope to Vegas or just shack up. The process of filling out oodles of paperwork and shelling out lots of money and time on shallow marriage prep was ludicrous. You can't tell me that a silly little ACT-like test and a 3-day-retreat is going to save a marriage. When the times get tough, I highly doubt that the bride or groom will remind themselves "But remember what we learned at Pre-Cana! You're the butter to my bread!" and then that gives them the strength to move forward.  :eyeroll: :-/

It seems to me that modern Marriage Prep has gone the way of RCIA and Faith Formation after V2 got its claws into the Church. My grandparents were married in 1943. They went to their local Catholic school and asked the priest to marry them in the parish office during recess. They had 8 children and were happily married until death. No goofy retreats and jejune tests needed. 

I am currently pursuing marriage with a different man who isn't a coward and actually wants to get married. (Please, no lectures on how soon it has all happened. I know, and I am fully aware of what I am getting into.) :deadhorse: But we are both frustrated at the daunting process of getting married in the modern Church (I'll be going through all of it a second time), nor do we have the time or money for expensive retreats and the like. We have a full-time horse business to run, and we just want to get married and start our lives together without jumping through all this red tape. It was so simple in the old days. Now it's a huge complicated affair and I'm exhausted just thinking about it. 

The local priest was unsympathetic when I mentioned our plight, and rather rudely informed me that I had no business even talking to him until we were officially engaged and that we had better hurry up because he has 14 other couples he's attending to at the moment.  :dodgy: I would rather not get married at that parish anyway because it's been poisoned by David Haas and looks more like a sports bar than a Church...but I digress. We live in a rural area and there are no Latin Mass parishes within reasonable driving distance. 

I wish we could find a Trad priest in a Trad parish so we wouldn't have to endure this ridiculous mess. I would much rather sit down with a good priest and have a few private sessions of conversation about the sacrament instead of hustling off to summer-camp-like retreats and filling in inane little bubbles on a test sheet. We want to get married in the Church. We are trying to do things the right way, not live together, etc. We are going to be open to children right away. We are both properly catechized. Procuring a sacrament should not be so complicated.  :(
I'm kinda chuckling. I apologise, but if you find Pre-Cana to be stressful and complicated, then you will be in for a rude awakening once you're married.

I get that it can be lame, but the reason the Church is doing it is because so many young Catholics rush to get married and then rush to get divorced and annulled. Pre-Cana is an attempt to mitigate that. Also a lot of parishes do not have the money to fund that program well.

Sure your grandparents got hitched in the 40s lickity split, but divorce was not only rare at that time, but in most States it was illegal.

I know you want a Trad priest to sit down and aswer questions, but it's not going to happen. Too many marriages, too few priests to give such special treatment.

I know you said no lectures , but as someone who is married let me say that your desperate rush to get married will only make things difficult down the road. Take the Pre-Cana seriously. Things are going well...for now, but so was the case with your last man. You really think you know this man, when you didn't even know your fiance for three years???

Take this time to seriously consider what you two are getting into. Marriage will come in time...in the meantime view the struggle of running a business and pre-Cana as your foray into marriage. It is not all honeymooning.

Take it seriously, or risk a future divorce and a lifetime of imposed celibacy...aka your worse nightmare.

Sent from my VS986 using Tapatalk
Are you sure this man intends to marry?  Why aren’t you engaged?
Hey I'll stick up for you. I'm going through Pre-Cana right now and it's an effing joke.

The retreat we went on was similar to what you described. Luckily it was only 36 hours not 3 days. Worst of all, when we were expected to talk one-on-one with our fiancé, we were shoved into bedrooms alone together for 15-30 min at a time. This was literally half the retreat. Thank God they had Confession available. Almost all guidance was secular. There was very little theology.

Also, we're having a full sized wedding and reception. Which I realize now is a massive mistake. There goes 25k that could have gone towards her student loans or my mortgage.

By the time we're married this May, we will have been together for just under 2 years. But I would prefer to get eloped tomorrow. So I say power to ya if you manage to reach out to a more conservative or traditional priest who is willing to help expedite the process.

I don't have any marriage advice as I'm not married, but I will say, never stop communicating. Don't clam up and let things fester. Talk about the future together so that there is an agreed upon general idea of where you're going together.

God Bless! May you all have many kiddos!
SC,

Good on you to move on, but just make sure you do things right here.

There's no reason to wait 10 years to be sure you're willing to stay with the guy and he's willing to stay with you, but just be sure that he has the qualities to be a good Catholic husband, good Catholic Father, takes his spiritual life seriously, and does not expect or want to do immoral things before marriage. He should be a support for you to help balance your emotions. You should be a realist for him and point out his grand ideas need a bit more thought. 

If you've got that and you both are willing to make the relationship work, and not give up in the difficult times, then there's no reason to wait many months dating. I know many couples that are engaged within six months and married within another 6-12 months. They are usually the ones that work the best, because they were serious about what dating was supposed to do : find a person willing to sacrifice for them and future children.

I would highly suggest getting in touch with a local traditional priest for marriage prep. Most traddie priests I know do one-on-one prep, and usually can get around the Pre-Cana stuff for you. They will be more demanding of you and your future spouse.

You could also listen to some talks by Fr Ludger Grün, SSPX, who is probably one of the best balances between the doctrine needed but also providing the ideals for a married couple to pursue, exactly the opposite of the touchy-feely 1980s-style Pre-Cana, but not just a dry doctrinal treatise.

He has a conference available for donwload from Angelus Press and another here as well as a book. Also good is Three to Get Married by Msgr Fulton Sheen, as well as Dear Newlyweds which is a series of speeches and conferences by Pius XII on marriage and married life.

If Pre-Cana is not good for you, then educate yourself.
My daughter went thru Pre-Cana and brought home a very nice poster they made.
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Preparing for marriage and they made a poster...…
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I don't really see how a few nights, or a weekend, can prepare anyone for marriage.  This is something you have to see and experience while growing up.  And you both have to believe, really truly believe, that marriage is forever, no matter what, but you need to be living your life that way before you get married, meaning, you need to be the type of person who sticks with things, and people.  The Church does need to do something to make sure you are really getting married in the sacramental way and not just using Mom's church to make Mom happy.  Maybe the Church should not allow any weddings that are not full-Mass ceremonies, you know, two Catholics in good standing?
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Divorce is legal and common.  The only thing (outside of God) that will protect you from divorce is you, your spouse and your commitment to your spouse.  Lots of people will let you slide when it gets hard.  You will run into people who will actively encourage disrespect and divorce - yes, actively discourage commitment. It didn't work for them so it can't work for anyone. Choose your friends wisely.  Does this man truly share your faith, at your level, or is he kinda' going along for the ride?  Was he religious before you met him?  Did he go to Mass, say his rosary, go to Confession (a big tip off)?
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But realize that marriage is not always rosy.  You need to be better friends than lovers because altho the sex is great and all, the importance of sex fades when kids and car payments and layoffs happen.  You need to see the world in the same way before you marry.  You need to have common goals before you marry. You mention the cost of Pre-Cana, and I do see your point, but that leads to lots of questions about your future?   Lots of kids?  A couple of kids?  Who changes the diapers?  Who works and who takes care of the kids?  OK, and what will you do if the one with the job loses the job?  What will you do when the baby won't sleep?   Who gets up?  Who skips out of work to take the baby to the doctor?  Who pays the bills?  Who is good with money and who likes to spend it?  Who cooks dinner every night? Who takes out the trash?   Who wants to live in the city and who wants to live in the country?  How country?  Suburban, city-water country, or pump-your-own-water-at-the-well country? What happens when the teenager mouths off, or stays out late after curfew?   All of these questions used to be much easier with standard gender roles, but you have to figure these things out on your own.  What gender roles did his parents have?  Your parents?  Yes, this matters, a lot.  I have been married and this stuff matters a lot.
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A whole new paragraph to explain the parent/gender role thing.  My parents were traditional, post war parents.  Dad worked and Mom stayed home with the kids.  Dad made pretty good money so we lived in a good neighborhood, went to Catholic school and had anything we needed. Scouts and music lessons.   We even went on vacation every year.  Dad had good life- and health insurance.   My parents paid off the house quickly and drove used cars so they could pay cash for as much as possible.  My husband, on the other hand...his parents divorced when he was a young child.  He then lived with his Mom and her parents.  Then his Mom remarried.  To an alcoholic.  A mean alcoholic who had a hard time keeping a job so the family moved almost every single year.  In fact, my husband went to a different school every single year.  His mom worked full time and also took care of the kids and took care of the house and took care of the drunk.  At the time we married, the drunk stopped drinking but stayed a dry drunk who interfered in our marriage, our family and our business.  His parents went bankrupt at least twice.  My point is, my husband and I came from very different families and it affected our marriage.  We got thru fine as long as his parents were across the country but when they moved to the same place as us, it started to fall apart.  No, it wasn't, technically,  his families fault, but it put him in a terrible position and forced him to deal with things he did not want to deal with - things that many of us try to run away from, and I didn't like the changes because we had worked things out pretty well.   But our marriage was a struggle because of our different upbringings and the gender roles we grew up with.  His mother, a nice lady, was the one who organized family get-togethers, but my mother was not, so I didn't know how to do this and it was expected of me to do this when they all moved closer to us.  His father was contemptuous of organized religion but my father, who was not Catholic, insisted that we kids grow up in the Church.  His mother was a great cook, my mother was not, so, frankly, I literally didn't know how to cook and he expected me to be a great cook, etc.  His dad was bossy and expected people to jump when he said jump, my dad was not.  His dad wanted to be the Paterfamilias but didn't want the whole job, just the good parts.    See, role models, gender roles, things that come up that you never dealt with before.  You can deal with this, it doesn't doom any marriage, but it is the stuff you never understood you had to deal with.
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I like marriage.  I wish I was married.  I wish my husband hadn't died.  But I prefer to be alone than be (re)married to the wrong person.  I have seen divorce, and divorce is terrible. 
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 I don't wish to discourage you from marriage, exactly, but I know you are very keen on getting married sooner rather than later, and I encourage caution.  I also hope for the best for you.  I hope you are happy and find a lifetime of happiness.
Thank you all for your intelligent and well-thought out responses.

It is folks like you that are such a blessing to me as a young Catholic trying to survive in this culture of death, and I thank all of you for taking time out of your days to respond to my woes.

Somebody said that if I can't handle all the work that goes into marriage prep, there's no way I will be able to handle marriage itself. I just want to make it clear that it's not the work I'm frustrated about. I already know that marrying this man is going to be brutally hard. Long days, short nights, and very little time for making love or spending quality time together. That's how it is when you run a full-time farm and business, and I've come to accept that the way things are now are the way things will be in our marriage. I barely see him now as it is (he's been in New York for a week), and spend a good deal of my time doing his chores and making up for the things he doesn't have time to do (as I mentioned in a previous post). I am not afraid of hard work. I'm just frustrated and angry that the modern Church's idea of marriage prep involves making posters and singing We Are Family. Can't they give us something better? No wonder so many marriages end in divorce.

I want to mention something else, and I don't want to offend anyone. It seems that the vibe I get from the married people on this forum is that marriage is 90% suffering, work, and tears, and 10% anything enjoyable. I seem to get a very bitter picture of marriage from folks, and it's not very encouraging. I rarely, if ever, hear people praising this sacrament, or saying how blessed and happy they are to be married, or saying they are thankful for their spouse. Is it really that bad, folks? I mean, I know it's not all sunshine and unicorns, and I'm glad you're not trying to pretend it's something it isn't, but it makes me wonder if I should run for my life.

FultonFan, he is very serious about marriage. In fact, he's more excited about it than I am (is that even possible?!) We are planning on announcing our engagement at Christmas if not before. He still needs to talk to my dad and ask for my hand, and since we live in a different state from my parents, we've been planning on going back to my home for Thanksgiving if the weather permits.
(10-09-2018, 11:27 AM)SacraCor714 Wrote: [ -> ]I want to mention something else, and I don't want to offend anyone. It seems that the vibe I get from the married people on this forum is that marriage is 90% suffering, work, and tears, and 10% anything enjoyable. I seem to get a very bitter picture of marriage from folks, and it's not very encouraging. I rarely, if ever, hear people praising this sacrament, or saying how blessed and happy they are to be married, or saying they are thankful for their spouse. Is it really that bad, folks? I mean, I know it's not all sunshine and unicorns, and I'm glad you're not trying to pretend it's something it isn't, but it makes me wonder if I should run for my life.

Well St Paul did say chastity was preferable to Matrimony.

Hehe, it does seem in a certain frame of mind that Holy Matrimony is indeed more suffering than joy. However, the same can be said about life; does that mean life is not worth living?

As a man who will be celebrating his fifth anniversary next year, I wish to try and brace people who wish to rush headlong into marriage. The reason being is because I was that man at one point. The pre-Cana was for the most part, a joke. We both saw marriage as a life-long Sacrament, a covenant between spouses and God. We spent more time communicating than we felt most couples have. We both felt that pre-Cana was just tedious crap, rehashing everything we already knew...but we had to do it before we got married. We dated for a few months, then was engaged for almost two years while we waited for both of us to graduate. Every night (and I do mean every night) we would talk for hours. At some point you run out of things to talk about and simply start talking about personal thoughts on housework and chores, which we did. Trust me, you talk to someone on average 2-3 hours every night for just six months, as opposed to almost 2 years....you get to definitely know that person...and they you. Still, knowing someone so well...goes so far. Marriage changes you. It changes them. For some reason, no matter how much you have braced yourself for imperfections (I certainly would visualize the fights we would have) you will face it and it will be difficult. The first two to four years are going to be difficult and if you can hang on and work out your differences (that's the key) then you will make it.

Is it mostly suffering? No...most days are benign, but when the suffering comes...boy do you feel it. It sucks when you fight and the other person says something that angers and hurts you and you in turn retaliate. Eventually you are wrestling with this person you love, but at the same time can not stand at this particular moment in time, and they you. Most people run (ala divorce), but it is not an option. That's where the suffering comes...the suffering of humbling yourself (as I did numerous times) and having to change a particular attribute about yourself for the good of the marriage.

Yet, it is wonderful and honestly I cannot envision myself without my wife. I have a happy, healthy marriage and I am blessed that God has brought her to me. We share laughs and we have sweet, quiet, gentle moments that I do not wish to spend with anyone else. She is my best friend, my partner, and above all my wife. I love her dearly and I am glad to be married to her. It's just there is a Cross to bear inside of marriage and some days can get very rough.

The secret to a lasting marriage is to always put Jesus Christ FIRST, put your spouse second, and yourself Third; and to always be willing to humble yourself and be willing to change. Got a hot temper? You have to painful undergo a change to calm it. Dream of traveling the world...they may not be able to and you will have to suck it up. Put Christ in your marriage, pray and be humble. That is the key to success.

I don't think anyone here is trying to turn you off of marriage. I just think we are trying to protect you as we did the last time. You have to admit, you were rushing to get married to the last guy too. You also have to admit that you did not heed the advice of many on here to take a break from dating and go soul-searching. Now just months later you are hitching your wagon to a new guy and complaining about PC, but you aren't even engaged yet. So the reason you are probably seeing more debbie-downer posts on Matrimony is simply out of sheer caution for your sake, as opposed to people being miserable in their own marriages.

As I and other posters have said. Anything worse than being single...is divorced.
The Pre-Cana courses we took were pretty lame as well. I will say that the presenters were pretty decent at least. The best part of the marriage prep was the time we spent with our priest. I know that the priests can't be spending oodles of time with couples and that's probably part of why they do these classes, but it was way more worthwhile. Personally, if I ran these Pre-Cana courses I'd change the whole thing and spend more time teaching authentic Catholicism. I know you can't teach a lot in the allotted time (we didn't have a retreat it was two or three 8 hour classes), but the amount of people who show up to these things not having practiced their religion in years is extremely high. Teach some theology, teach people basic devotionals, things of that nature. How to love God and live a Catholic marriage. Not some silly workbook stuff and videos of Cardinal Dolan talking about how marriage is an antipasto to heaven.
(10-08-2018, 01:30 PM)Some Guy Wrote: [ -> ]Hey I'll stick up for you. I'm going through Pre-Cana right now and it's an effing joke.

The retreat we went on was similar to what you described. Luckily it was only 36 hours not 3 days. Worst of all, when we were expected to talk one-on-one with our fiancé, we were shoved into bedrooms alone together for 15-30 min at a time. This was literally half the retreat. Thank God they had Confession available. Almost all guidance was secular. There was very little theology.

Also, we're having a full sized wedding and reception. Which I realize now is a massive mistake. There goes 25k that could have gone towards her student loans or my mortgage.

By the time we're married this May, we will have been together for just under 2 years. But I would prefer to get eloped tomorrow. So I say power to ya if you manage to reach out to a more conservative or traditional priest who is willing to help expedite the process.

I don't have any marriage advice as I'm not married, but I will say, never stop communicating. Don't clam up and let things fester. Talk about the future together so that there is an agreed upon general idea of where you're going together.

God Bless! May you all have many kiddos!

My two cents: If you read and study Casti connubii, you should be able fully to inoculate yourself against the silliness of pre-Cana.

To the OP: If you really are at a financially bad condition, then write your bishop to ask for an explicit dispensation from pre-Cana.  I've written my bishop so much that writing him is really the first thought whenever something is going wrong and no one on a lower level will listen to me. 

Use Fr. Z's advice on how to frame the letter if you're going to write the bishop:
  • BE BRIEF. Make your letter no longer than one side of one sheet of paper.
  • Avoid writing long-hand.  Make it easy to read.
  • Include relevant proof of what you claim happened: Vatican dicasteries can’t act solely on the basis of Mrs. Joe Bagofdonuts’s description of events.  The best thing you can do is send concrete evidence, printed (such as a parish bulletin), or photographic, or sound recordings.  If someone wrote and distributed something, send a copy.
  • If you have relevant past correspondence, such as previous responses from priests or bishops, send copies.
  • Do not - not – tell the one to whom you are writing what their job is!  Don’t quote canons, blah blah, as if they didn’t know them already.  Leave the incredibly obvious unsaid.
  • Do not – not – engage in character assassination.  State FACTS with as little editorializing as possible.  Blathering on and on about how “disobedient” priests or bishops are will not strengthen your case.  State facts. They will know if they are disobedient.
  • If you must talk about your feelings, keep your personal remarks incredibly short, and do not –  not – be mean-spirited. If something made you sad or angry, okay, say it, but don’t DWELL on it.  The nastier you are, the weaker your letter will be.
  • At the end thank the one you are writing to for his service, and promise your prayers.  And mean it. And then pray.
All the best.
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